Technology has released a surge of positive change across the corporate world. But organizations need to embrace digital change with open arms to succeed in the years ahead.
The growth of the IoT, automation, and advancing digitization is already helping enterprises rise above the competition, thanks to the widespread benefits these breakthrough technologies bring to the market. It is estimated that by 2030 Industrial IoT will drive $7.1 trillion in incremental revenues in the US alone, with China, Germany and the UK all poised to follow suit. 1
But the adoption of Industrial IoT technologies alone is not enough to futureproof any organization. To develop game-changing ideas and fully capitalize on their data, companies now need to combine their connected technologies with the concept of open innovation.
Under open innovation, companies share their intellectual property to create value for both parties. “Innovation comes from lots of sources, inside and outside. Open innovation is the recognition that companies have to work together to solve problems,” explains Dr Richard Soley, Executive Director at the world-leading Industrial IoT organization, the Industrial Internet Consortium.
Industrial IoT and open innovation are a winning partnership, where both promote connectivity and collaboration.
Using Industrial IoT, a manufacturer interconnects its facility’s production systems. This delivers extensive agility and visibility to the manufacturer, where they not only benefit from a complete operational overview of their systems, but also receive actionable insights to help them proactively optimize their operations. This creates a range of new business opportunities and manufacturers are expanding their R&D efforts to further expedite innovation and reap the full rewards of the Industrial IoT.
By uniting Industrial IoT with open innovation, organizations could “completely change the way that many vertical markets will operate.” As a result, this combination could revamp manufacturing across a range of sectors, including healthcare, energy management, smart cities, and smart buildings.
But Industrial IoT and open innovation cannot exist in isolation. To realize their full benefits, they need to work together with other emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain.
By interlinking this wealth of technologies, manufacturers can capitalize on the large amounts of data their Industrial IoT-enabled facilities produce. “We can take a large number of data sources, convince those data sources to do something useful with artificial intelligence, blockchain, with various new technologies, and make changes in the real world,” Soley explains.
Standardization is required to connect these disparate technologies to not only provide organizations with a competitive edge but also deliver real value to wider society. “Today, value chains are connected across large numbers of companies, and the only way they can possibly do that is by having a shared reference architecture, a shared vocabulary, a shared connectivity architecture, and a shared security architecture,” Soley explains. Some standards already exist, including the Industrial Internet Reference Architecture (IIRA), which provides the interoperability and portability to seamlessly connect these disparate solutions.
To reap the full rewards of open innovation, organizations also need to break down their information silos and utilize their untapped data by embracing automation. For example, a smart building may contain thousands of sensors and collect gigabytes of information every day. It’s not feasible for a human to analyze all of that information, so it often lies redundant in a data lake. But a deep learning system can keep track of how the building is used, its occupancy levels, temperature, and a range of other factors, and combine this real-time data with stored information to provide accurate insights.
This is just one example. Now, imagine the impact if healthcare providers shared medical records with the ambulance service so this vital information is available from the minute the paramedics arrive. Or if the agriculture industry embraced the Industrial IoT to monitor and optimize crop growth, enabling hyper-efficient precision farming practices.
“The reality is that industrial IoT is going to completely change some markets - and I would argue it would completely change all markets. It will change the way your agriculture works. It will change the way healthcare works. It will change the way smart cities work. It will change the way smart buildings work,” Soley explains. “I don’t know what the future will hold, but I do know it will be exciting.”
This promising future is now within reach as more mutually compatible IoT architecture frameworks are developed, allowing a growing number of verticals outside of manufacturing to embrace the extensive opportunities of open innovation.